Many of you may recognize this famous sculpture Horse and Rider by Marino Marini on the front terrace of the Peggy Guggenheim Gallery in Venice. The Guggenheim is one of our favorite spots in Venice, we get here often, so much so that this year we became "Friends" of the museum.
When my mother and two sisters were here visiting us the beginning of this month, we spent a pleasant afternoon in the Guggenheim. I discovered during the course of the afternoon that my older sister had been here many years ago when she traveled throughout Europe right after college, and she remembered actually seeing Peggy Guggenheim in the living room of the house. In those days, it was a private residence, not a museum, but Peggy opened certain rooms to the public a few days a week to view her private collection. Can you imagine? I was envious, to say the least, that my sister had witnessed this herself.
Another revelation that day was the discovery that my mother had never been in a modern art museum before. She took it all in, stopping at each piece, reading, and observing. Mom, going on 83 this year, took us all by surprise. (She declared later at dinner that she didn't really care for modern art, but it was interesting to have seen it--- a better result than we ever expected, honestly).
But, the best part of this particular Guggenheim visit is this: while Mom was taking her time going through the museum with my older sister by her side, my younger sister Denise and I were ahead of them, and stopped in the dining room to wait up for the others. There we are, just chatting away, when the docent in the room came up and told me to not lean on the dining room table! Yikes! I hadn't realized I was slightly touching it with my side as we were talking. Totally accidental, mind you. My sister heard this, and in the blink of an eye she yells, "I'm going to tell Mom!!!!!".
Yes, that's right. She RAN off and tattled on me, just like the clock had rolled back and we were 10 and 5 yr olds again. That would be just like her! We're grown women, with grown children, and my sister even has two grandchildren! I spent years getting in trouble for stuff that Denise ratted me out on, or embellished upon in order to get me in some sort of hot water for her amusement. Now, we are quite a few years older, and have not spent the better part of our lives together after I left for college many moons ago, so you can imagine how astounded I was as all this was going down in the Guggenheim!
There was nothing I could do. I was right behind her , but she reached my mother first, and blurted out : "Mom, Karen got in trouble in the Guggenheim!! She was SITTING on the dining room table and got in trouble with the docent." Oh, my God!! I fully expected my mother to come running into the dining room prepared to give me a good spanking! Instead, my mother lets out one of the funniest lines of the whole visit, we'll be remembering this for the rest of our lives. She says, "Oh, for goodness sake, and I can't even bail her out today, they don't take American money here."
What's particularly funny about this is that Mom had arrived in Venice 2 days earlier with a few Euros in her purse, and more American dollars. She wanted to pay for dinner the first nite, but we went to a small Osteria that didn't take credit cards, and she didn't quite understand why her American dollars wouldn't fly either. Every place we went into all the next day she would ask, "Will they take my American dollars?" It just wasn't getting through, so we just let it go after awhile. And here, in the Guggenheim, she finally got it!
For the rest of the day, we got a good laugh out of this. The leaning on the table soon became sitting at the table waiting for Peggy to come serve me a cup of tea. By dinner time, it was lying on the dining room table taking a little nap while I waited for everyone to finish up in the museum. Trust me, this incident will be rehashed for years to come.
Yup, Karen got in trouble in the Guggenheim.
P.S. One week later I also got in trouble at the Dolce and Gabbana Kids shop in Sorrento. Fortunately for me, Mom was not with us, so Denise was not able to run tattle. Spared in Sorrento!